Online Brand Protection
What is online brand protection and what is it for?
The dynamic space of online and eCommerce platforms offers brand owners with an amazing outreach and new opportunities. However, it also imposes threats by counterfeiters and other offenders, who exploit the same advantages to reach customers.
As online markets and eCommerce grow, online threats are not only becoming more widespread, they are also continually becoming more sophisticated. Although many brands are still unaware of the scope of online brand abuse, it may adversely affect their revenue, both online and offline. It may also dilute their brand’s reputation and damage its credibility, further diminishing the brand’s value.
Even brands that are aware of the risks associated with online brand abuse may be unaware of the magnitude of the problem. Other brands may simply give up or devote precious time and considerable funds to try and combat the problem, just to see it getting bigger. The reality is that trying to fight the problem without having effective online brand protection service will end up draining resources, funds and time, with little effect.
In the digital age, online brand protection is not a nice-to-have, it is a must-have.
What is brand abuse?
Brand abuse is the exploitation of Intellectual Property (IP) without having legal permission for use of IP assets from the IP legal owner. Common activities of brand abuse are:
Counterfeiting is the manufacturing, distribution or sales of goods that use a trademark, logo, design or utility patent, without permission from the legal IP rights owner, often with the intention of misleading consumers to think they are buying authentic goods.
(2) Trademark squatting
Trademark squatting is the registering of someone else’s mark in bad faith, often in territories where the original mark owner has yet to register their mark, or where there are issues of transliteration, as may happen with Chinese trademarks.
(3) Copyright infringement
Copyright infringement, also referred to as piracy, is the unauthorized use, reproduction, distribution or display of work protected by copyright Intellectual Property law. Copyright protects literary, musical or artistic works. For example, it helps to prevent the copying of photographs to other material that was produced by a brand owner.
(4) Patent infringement
Patent infringement is the use or sale of goods with a patented invention, without permission from the legal patent holder.
(5) Infringing websites and social media accounts
Websites and social media accounts which are created with the purpose of infringing upon the IP rights of brand owners, are a common brand abuse practice. Among the more known activities are:
Cybersquatting – registering or using web-domain names in bad faith. This involves the purchase of domain names that use the names of existing brands, trademarks or copyrighted work, for the purpose of selling illegal goods, misleading consumers, or offering such web-domains for sale to the person or company who owns the trademark contained within the domain-name, at an inflated price.
Typosquatting – a form of cybersquatting that targets users who type an incorrect website name, diverting traffic to websites different to the one they intended to reach. This is also called ‘URL hijacking’.
Scam sites and social media accounts – websites that imitate the look-and-feel of an authentic brand’s website, with the intention of deceiving consumers or social media accounts imitating existing brands or people, for illicit profits.
(6) Gray market sales
Gray market sales are, for the most part, not illegal. However, the sales of authentic goods through unauthorized channels and in territories that were not authorized for sale by the legal brand owner may lead to brand abuse. Gray marketing, also known as parallel importing, often makes use of price differences between territories, and in many cases is the result of distributors breaching their distribution agreements.
Online brand protection service
The professional online brand protection service offered to our firm’s clients is the result of a collaboration between Reinhold Cohn and Partners with Wiser Market, which has developed one of the most advanced digital enforcement technologies in the world, and which carries out its services using these technological means.
A combination of professional expertise, and many years of experience of our firm, together with the digital capabilities of Wiser Market, are a significant advantage for brand owners who wish to protect their rights on digital platforms.
Online brand protection is the protection of brand owner’s assets in the digital world, anywhere, and at any time. It involves the use of cutting-edge technology, extensive IP legal experience, and unique eCommerce know-how, to deliver ultimate results.
Effective online brand protection provides several solutions, designed to eliminate threats across multiple digital channels. These include:, anti-piracy, prevention of trademark abuse, patent and design infringements, or combating gray marketing activities.
With the rapid growth of eCommerce and online sales becoming increasingly dominant, online threats grow respectively, making online brand protection crucial for safeguarding a brand’s assets, and online sales.
Protecting your brand will require taking several actions:
- Registering your IP rights – logo, trademarks, patents, designs and copyrights.
- Getting the full picture – in order to eliminate threats, one first needs to understand what and where these threats are endangering the brand and assets. Tracking digital threats requires the use of advanced technology.
- Protect – track-down threats across multiple digital channels worldwide and prevent them from selling their products. To reach this mammoth goal, brand owners require an effective online brand protection service to defend their assets online.
All businesses and brand owners, regardless of their size, origin, and product catalogue, require online brand protection.
The rise of eCommerce has made digital protection a necessity for literally all brands, across all industries.
Successful online brand protection brings real added-value to brand owners and is a must-have in the eCommerce age. Key advantages include:
- Protection of IP rights – ensuring that you are the only one capitalizing from your IP assets.
- Reduced counterfeit production – eliminating the sales of counterfeit goods and blocking brand abuse activity reduces counterfeiters’ motivation to produce fake products.
- Increased sales – eliminating illegal sales increases the sales of authentic goods.
- Reduced marketing costs – marketing costs rise when counterfeiters bid up paid advertising and promote their illegal products over legitimate search engine optimization results of authentic goods (SEO).
- Encourage investments – having a strong and well protected brand will add to investors’ safety, and ultimately to your brand’s value.
- Boost your growth – with an effective brand protection service in place, brand owners have more time and resources to focus on growth of their business.
- Protect your brand’s reputation – making end-consumers feel safe to purchase your products, knowing they are buying high-quality authentic goods, results in better brand reputation, and promotes additional sales.